Two suspected in dozens of break-ins caught at state game area
A 19-year-old and a 17-year-old may face prison time after leading a conservation officer on a chase Tuesday and allegedly breaking into vehicles, officials said.
The two have been charged with seven felonies connected to vehicle break-ins in Allegan, Barry and Kalamazoo counties, Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials said Thursday. They believe the two are responsible for 50-60 vehicle break-ins across the three counties over the last week.
The Barry County Sheriff's Office had received several complaints Tuesday about the larcenies from vehicles in the Hastings area. Hastings is located about 128 west of Detroit.
Hastings police issued an alert to local law enforcement agencies about two armed suspects traveling in a red Toyota Highlander.
DNR Conservation Officer Richard Cardenas at 5:20 p.m. spotted an occupied vehicle matching that description in an area commonly used by hunters off Bowens Mille Road in the Barry State Game Area. He also saw several unoccupied vehicles parked in the area that had smashed windows.
Cardenas notified sheriff's deputies and requested assistance.
He activated his vehicle's emergency lights and the vehicle fled, authorities said. Cardenas gave chase. At one point, the vehicle left the road and landed in a swamp. The occupants exited the vehicle and ran.
After a short foot chase, Cardenas took them into custody, officials said. Barry County deputies helped Cardenas with the arrest and later transported them to the county jail, they said.
Authorities searched the vehicle and found stolen firearms and other items believed to have been stolen. They also found a stolen handgun in the swamp, according to officials.